FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Tommy Schrader was named the Indiana 3rd Congressional District Democratic nominee Tuesday night in a three-candidate race.
About 41,000 votes were cast. Schrader won 38 percent of the votes, Huntington businessman Todd Nightenhelser came in second with 32 percent and Vietnam War veteran John Roberson came in last place with 31 percent of the votes.
While Schrader won the 3rd congressional district Democratic nomination this year, he lost the same race in a close contest in 2014. That election night, he was nearly arrested for causing a disturbance at the Allen County Republican Headquarters as votes were coming in. When asked about that incident, Schrader told NewsChannel 15 that “it was fun, exhilarating, and maybe I had a couple too many to drink.”
In 2011, Schrader won an at-large seat on the Fort Wayne City Council. After his win, the Allen County Election Board ruled he was ineligible. They said he had broken residency laws by still living in Green Bay, Wisconsin while running for the seat.
The Allen County Democratic Party Chair Jack Morris said Schrader’s win Tuesday was a disappointment.
“A lot of people here in Allen County who are in the know understand that he is not really a viable candidate,” he said. “Unfortunately, that name is very popular in the outlying counties and it’s a name people think they may know.”
Morris said he takes responsibility for his victory.
“I want you to know that I think I take responsibility for the proper candidate not winning there,” he said. “As Allen County chair, it’s my job to deliver that vote for that candidate and I accept the responsibility for that. First time chair. I’ve been in the position, but never been in the position of helping other candidates get that out and I feel bad for that young man Todd Nightenhelser because he worked hard and I wish I had done more for him”.
Schrader will face Jim Banks, the 3rd district Republican nominee, for the U.S. congressional seat in November.
Earlier in the evening, Schrader told NewsChannel 15 he’d be available for comment after results came in. Despite several attempts, we weren’t able to track him down. He reached NewsChannel 15 early Wednesday morning acknowledging he won the election.